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October 3, 2017

After Vegas, some providers call for action to address gun violence as public health issue

Daily Briefing

The White House and members of Congress on Monday offered support and condolences to those affected by Sunday's mass shooting in Las Vegas—while one provider group responded by framing gun violence as a public health issue and calling for congressional action.

Officials say the shooting, which took place Sunday night at a Las Vegas country music festival, killed at least 59 people and injured more than 500 others.

Joseph Lombardo, sheriff of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, at a news conference Monday said the gunman, identified by police as Stephen Craig Paddock, was found dead with at least 16 firearms in his hotel room.

President Trump Monday called the mass shooting "an act of pure evil."

Republican Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) called the shooting a "senseless, horrifying act of violence."

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) said, "I thank the first responders for taking down the gunman and working tirelessly to treat the wounded. I am working with the City of Las Vegas and Clark County to ensure that local officials have the resources they need to support our community and investigate these tragic events."

Democrats, health providers push for more action

After the shooting, the American College of Physicians (ACP) urged action to prevent future attacks. ACP in a statement called mass shootings a "serious public health issue," adding, "We must acknowledge that lack of a U.S. policy to address gun violence is the reason we have much higher rates of injuries and deaths from firearms violence than other countries."

The group cited a 2015 call-to-action in which ACP—along with the American College of Surgeons, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Emergency Physicians, the American Public Health Association, and the American Bar Association—offered a series of recommendations on firearm-related violence," such as background checks for firearm purchases and research into the causes and effects of firearm-related violence.

Several Democrats also called for legislative action, including House Democratic Caucus Chair Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.), who said, "Congress must also come together to assess ways for us to prevent these heinous attacks. The onus is on us to bring it to an end and ensure the safety and security of all Americans."

However, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R-Ky.) criticized those calling for gun regulation as "political opportunists." Bevin in a tweet said," You can't regulate evil"

Lawmakers eye new legislation

An aide to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.) and Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) are planning to reintroduce a bill that would require background checks on all commercial firearm sales.

Pelosi in a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) Monday urged the speaker to create a committee on gun violence and to pass King and Thompson's bill.

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) on Monday also said he plans to introduce legislation that would expand gun background checks.

According to NBC News, Congress currently is considering two bills that would ease certain gun control laws. One bill would make concealed weapons permits valid across state lines, while the other could make it easier for individuals to purchase silences for their firearms (Persons, Washington Times, 10/2; Choi, Business Insider, 10/2; Seitz-Wald, NBC News, 10/2; Yokley, Morning Consult, 10/2; Connolly, Roll Call, 10/2; Savransky, The Hill, 10/2; Carney, The Hill, 10/2 [1]; Carney, The Hill, 10/2 [2]; Carter, The Hill, 10/2).

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